Stealth vs. Tactical
I am a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, retired Navy O-5, a mechanical engineer (academically), and an IT business consultant. I am considered by my colleagues to be an “idea machine”. I have made a good living based largely on my outside-the-box thinking. While I have too many ideas to viably act on all of them, there are enough good ones that all are usually worth at least consideration.
An Idea To Have Readers Find Flaws in My Thinking
I have been prepping for a couple of years now and have come upon an idea that I have not heard elsewhere and that goes counter to many generally acceptable prepper “givens”. However, as time goes on, I am giving it more and more serious consideration and would love to have your readers help me find the flaws in my thinking.
No Easy Answers
With regards to shelter-in-place and/or bug-out locations, there are no easy answers. The classic options given to preppers consist of either indefensible and unsustainable urban homes surrounded by a large population of potential looters or isolated and remote rural homes that will become the repeated target of visitation from an increasingly desperate “golden horde” refugees and/or dangerous marauders. I have come to believe that these represent a false or incomplete list of choices.
Urban Homes Thought Not Viable Options
Classic wisdom says urban homes are not really a viable option because there will be a lack of even the basics once the societal infrastructure fails. Sustainable water, power, and sanitation do not exist and the inability to grow crops make this is a losing proposition from the start.
Rural Homes Only Marginally Better
Unfortunately, with the “golden horde” migration from urban areas endlessly seeking the more remote in hopes of survival options, rural homes are really only marginally better. They can have a well for water, septic tank for sanitation, and even move off-grid for power needs. However, in their isolation, they still stick out, specifically because of the lack of other structures. Rural structures are usually modest in size and scope, due to a limited income that results from living in their remote locations. These rural homes are also frequently spread out and hard to defend.
They would require large numbers to provide round-the-clock manning of observation posts, leaving them susceptible to attack, too often in terms of close-in combat. With limited defenders and virtually unlimited, increasingly desperate adversaries, it is only a matter of time before these enclaves are overrun. Even given open space and tillable soil, sustainable agriculture in this environment is near impossible. Many times it is near impossible to fortify our rural homes to ensure a continued tactical advantage.
In days of old, castles were the area’s most formidable defensive structure. They were also the most obvious local landmark that quickly became the focus of attention of adversaries looking to plunder a new area. When attacked, most people from the surrounding area would retreat to the fortress in hopes of surviving the attack. Unfortunately, most castles were unable to provide a truly sustainable defense for a protracted siege. Water or food would run out, and the fortress would eventually fall to a patient enemy. To make matters worse, with the advent of more powerful munitions, castles could no longer even offer a defensible advantage, so the fortress concept eventually fell out of favor.
If urban homes and even rural mini-fortresses will not work, what other options are available?
Stealth vs. Tactical
Preppers love to see themselves as tactically capable. However, there are always larger, more powerful and more desperate groups. We need to consider the idea of allowing “tactical” to take the backseat to “stealth” and then revisit the option of hiding in plain site.
The family of Anne Frank successfully lived in their attic hideaway for almost two years while surrounded by their opposition. Even though the hideout was not tactically strong, the ruse worked for an extended period of time until they were actually betrayed. Their hideout was not even modestly sustainable. It was their need of help from the outside world that eventually disclosed their location. That said, it was the plethora of nearby structures that provided their cover. They had no tactical advantage, because they were not fighting the Germans. They were hiding from them.
The question that comes to my mind, is there any way that you can combine extreme stealth and push tactical advantage to the back seat, to be used only as a “last stand” strategy?
The Urban Fortress
In considering the answer to this question, first I propose that we consider moving the location back into the urban or suburban areas. Not only is it closer to my work, church, and community but the sheer number of larger buildings results in less focus or attention on any single structure. Next, you need to consider where you might be able to create a sustainable hiding place in the midst of these many buildings. Have you ever passed a Target store or other commercial building and noticed how tall the building is for a single level store? Granted, these stores do have very high ceilings, but the structure on many buildings on the outside does not always match up with the ceiling height on the buildings’ interior. People usually don’t question, or even notice, this mismatch, which means we might be able to use it to our advantage.
My Commercial Building
I am considering development of a commercial building, perhaps a warehouse with office space,. It would be in a relatively suburban environment, possibly in a small industrial park. The building would be the height of a three or four story building without windows. There would be a ground floor entry. It would have enough exterior architectural features to avoid looking like a prison, however.
The relatively small number of exterior windows or doors would leave this structure relatively easy to defend. It would be tall enough to make roof entry with a ladder an unlikely option. When commercial buildings have no corresponding windows on the exterior walls, combined with interior ceilings of varying heights, it is difficult to determine exactly how many levels exist in the building’s interior.
Architectural Features and Design
Architectural features on the large, exterior walls can actually insinuate two levels where there are actually three or look like three levels where there are actually four. Elevators can list floors 1 & 2, when there are actually three floors or list floors 1 through 3 and not list the fourth floor. While I intend to lease out the lower floor(s) to commercial tenants, I intend to reserve the top floor of this building for my own “private” business purposes.
For sake of discussion, let’s assume a building with a footprint of ~15,000 square feet. By architectural design, the top floor would be strictly for “offices” and/or administrative space. The top floor “offices” would be a 10,000 square feet “ring” of offices that all have windows that open into a center courtyard that was circa 5000 square feet. The courtyard could be glassed in, greenhouse style, or even left open to the sky above or some combination of both. During the “happy path” days, this top floor courtyard will be a pleasant “green space” with a park-like atmosphere. Planter boxes, trellis, porch swings, hammocks, outdoor kitchen, barbeque, perhaps even a hot tub would all enjoy natural light and create a private retreat. It might even include some artificial turf. I’ll have more about this later.
Access to the Top Floor
Access to the top floor will be designed in such a way as to be not prominently obvious that this level of office space and courtyard even exist. If there is an elevator, the top floor is not even a button option. Instead, this floor would be accessed by entry of a security code. Should the need arise, access to these top floor spaces could be further camouflaged, hardened, and even permanently closed off from the lower floors.
A Large Area Totally Overlooked
The primary goal here is to create a large area that can be totally overlooked. In harsh times, the lower floor(s) could even be looted and ransacked while the top floor remains undetected. The goal would be to create a space where people can remain hidden in a sustainable ”Anne Frank attic” for an extended period of time. It would last at least until such time that the “golden horde” departs the urban/suburban environment in search of food and beyond.
While remaining “hidden” is the topmost priority, let’s expand the discussion to include the factors needed to make this space truly “sustainable”. Tomorrow, I will go over my thoughts regarding options for such subjects as shelter, water, power, food, sanitation, and security in this hidden “urban fortress”. I look forward to sharing the details and then hearing your feed back.
- The New Urban Fortress- Part 2, by M.H. (Active on 8/9/18)
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 78 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 78 ends on September 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.